6,000 pounds of donated food: Community responds to Tempe agency's call for needy

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This summer has been harder than most on Arizona food banks. Tempe Community Action Agency turned to a food drive to

Food banks across Arizona have run into a similar roadblock during a summer that’s been tougher than most: Donations have plummeted and demand has skyrocketed.

Ed Baker, president of the Tempe Community Action Agency, said he can’t remember a time when the food bank has been in such dire need of food and supplies. The agency's shelves were empty, and he said they feared they would have to start turning people away. 

“It’s kind of just been a perfect storm this year,” Baker said. “We are literally out of food.”

He turned to the community for help, and on Saturday morning they came through — with 6,000 pounds of donated food. 

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Heidi Heister, a volunteer with the Tempe Community Action Agency, weighed all of the food donations throughout the morning on Aug. 12, 2017. (Photo: Grace Palmieri/The Republic)

Board members at the Tempe Community Action Agency, a non-profit assisting those in need of food and shelter, organized a food drive at Daley Park in Tempe on short notice.

Normally, the agency can turn monetary donations into food, which it buys in bulk from the United Food Bank.

“But even their inventory is low right now,” Baker said.

The drive, held from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, saw a steady stream of cars throughout the morning as families from across the East Valley stopped by with bags of food. Some emptied entire trunk loads of canned food and nonperishables.

With each donation, volunteer Heidi Heister was waiting to weigh the food and thank the family for their generosity. Then, workers from Get Your Move On moving company, who volunteered their time for the drive, loaded the truck, one can at a time.

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Volunteers help weigh and load food into a truck Aug. 12, 2017, at Daley Park in Tempe. (Photo: Grace Palmieri/The Republic)

Hundreds of cans of Green Giant corn, Del Monte sliced peaches, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, ramen, peanut butter, and more were stacked and packed into the truck.

Chandler resident Kim Lank made her first donation to the agency on Saturday morning.

“We had a cabinet full of stuff we hadn’t touched, so I figured why not donate it to people who need it?” Lank said. “Some days you think, ‘Oh I don’t have enough,’ but then you think of the people who really don’t.”

When Baker walked into the pantry last week, he recalled, there was no more than a day’s worth of food remaining. Now, they will have plenty to carry them into the fall.

“I just counted it all up,” Heister said, with about 45 minutes left in the drive. “What’s your guess?”

Steven Cassa, one of the movers, shot too low.

“2,342 pounds,” Heister said. “That’s pretty good.”

“I say there’s 4,350 by the end,” Cassa guessed.

“I’m going with 5,000.”

In the end, the agency collected 6,000 pounds of food, Baker announced on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Volunteers with the Tempe Community Action Agency help load donations into a truck during a food drive at Daley Park in Tempe on Aug. 12, 2017. (Photo: Grace Palmieri/The Republic)

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Article 6,000 pounds of donated food: Community responds to Tempe agency's call for needy compiled by www.azcentral.com